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The Inflectionist Poetry Movement

Inflectionism is a poetic movement grown out of discussions among three poets. They sought more organic poetry that respected both poet and reader, both words and interpretation. The founders do not seek to control the definition of Inflectionism, but encourage other poets to discover their own definitions. Our definitions are merely roots.

White Space


The concept of white space involves far more than the physical strategy- striking a healthy balance between black and white, text and vacancy. Words themselves require room to breathe. Images should remain wet cement. Concepts and emotions reside in the gray area of interpretation, the interplay of meaning and translation. In other words, the substance of poetry develops from achieving a delicate balance of text and not text, of stating what you mean without stating your intent, of white space not just around but also within the words you use.

Inflectionism does not support ambiguity for its own sake, much like art for artís sake. At heart, poetry is an intimate conversation between the writer and reader. Beyond that, it accepts the readerís part in the process and encourages connections deeper than mere recognition, understanding, and response. Too much poetry, perhaps most, seems composed with the audienceís reaction in mind. Keep the audience in mind, surely, but why dictate its response? If every reader has the same experience of a poem, the poet has failed at one of the most fundamental tasks of writing- to encourage dialogue, not demand attention via diatribe.

Inflecting suggests grasping what has come before and redefining it, refocusing it, placing it upon a different point in the arc thereby changing its trajectory. No poetic movement has wrongly defined the art of writing; they all provide philosophical stances and unique foundations upon which to build a real relationship with a reader. Inflectionism solicits readers to actively participate in a poem, to recreate each poem with every reading, and to recognize white space exists to nourish the poem with their experiences and their voices. And we seek writers and artists who yearn to communicate, not impart; to celebrate interpretations; to speak and to listen.

---- John Sibley Williams

A Dialog

Instead of defining itself from scratch, inflectionism seeks to define itself as an extension of the pre-existing art. Inflectionist poetry is just one branch of the creative approach that is referred to as Inflectionism.

The literary tradition is as ancient as our capacity for verbal communication. Through ages, most of the core human concerns have remained the same, although our ability to analyze and discuss them has evolved. Poetry has remained essentially the same in that it elicits our reaction by appealing to those concerns indirectly. Yet, it has become more complex as our self-awareness grows, as new works create a precedent for approaching the same universe of discourse from slightly different angles. Inflectionist poetry builds on the most compelling precedents to create precedents of its own.

Although art does not follow a pre-set formula and each artistís methods of expression are by necessity unique, there are certain tendencies that one identifies and adheres to if one approaches oneís creative output analytically and with a sense of responsibility to a greater whole. Inflectionist poets are in general defined by the following tendencies:
  • Poetry does not teach or explain. It asks questions and lets the reader answer them.
  • Poetry leaves space for the reader to come to their own conclusions.
  • Poetry seeks to represent the type of human interaction that causes a positive spark, an epiphany, a sense of growth
  • Poetry does not rely on any special knowledge on the readerís part, be it political, geographical, historical, etc.
A perfect poem is like a room into which the reader is invited with a soft word. This room contains wonders the reader can explore on their own. The poem does not seek to become its own tour guide by over-explaining its meaning and beauty. The poem respects its topic and treats its reader with empathy, attempting to enrich the readerís experience. A perfect poem works as well today as it would in the future or the past.

Inflectionist poetry is both new and familiar. It examines core human realities and gently pushes the reader to engage in a mutually defining interaction with the world.

---A. Molotkov

The Experience

Inflectionism is an artistic movement inviting viewer participation to help create a shared experience. There are gaps between images and ideas that the observer fills in with their own perceptions. Art is seen as a social interaction between language and time, connecting people with the perceived space in the world.

So the purpose of inflection is a return to poetry, a return of the honest poet's intuition to express and not overanalyze. Inflectionism does not seek artistic overindulgence. It recognizes the essential concentration and the authenticity of our experiences that wish to grow. The reader must help to answer the hidden potential of words that poets must find.

This potential is found in the artist's preconscious; the intuitive point where the author trusts his/her own inner self to spark a thought, create a stimuli, present the old in a new light, and express an experience. The approach seeks to maintain an "Inflectionist Balance", a genuineness, an artistic honesty that can resonate off of the paper, out into the world.

--Shawn Austin